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Social Line Connect is a simple iPhone game with a cross-platform backbone. The free app, which looks similar to Connect Four, was added to the App Store over the weekend. The real point of the no-frills game is playing it with friends — even if they […] Read more »

Mythic Entertainment, the studio that developed Electronic Arts’ new MMORPG Warhammer Online, has adopted an extreme anti-gold selling policy. But much as gamers claim to hate gold sellers, almost one in four patronize them — Mythic, therefore, is risking alienating a quarter of its user base. Read more »

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So last year, most people decided that marketing real products in virtual worlds like Second Life doesn’t work. Since then, however, I’ve come across some avatar-driven advertising campaigns with very impressive numbers. In Gaia Online, for example, users grabbed over a million virtual copies of a […] Read more »

Launching today, MTV’s Backchannel is a very cool-looking social game synergizing a very silly product— specifically, the network’s “reality” show The Hills. As the title suggests, Backchannel’s a chat interface that runs live online while a Hills episode airs on TV; players quickly post their witty […] Read more »

When I first squinted at this morning’s news that casual game company Big Fish had landed $83 million in funding (from Balderton Capital, General Catalyst Partners and Salmon River Capital), I could have sworn there was a decimal point missing somewhere. Big Fish reported $50.8 million […] Read more »

JamLegend is easily the coolest still-in-beta game I’ve played in recent weeks, and after some nagging on my part, the developers just sent me a 1,000 beta invites so GigaOM readers can try it out, too. Use this link to create an account. The three founders […] Read more »

Forrester Research recently sent us a copy of “It’s Time To Take Games Seriously,” an overview of the burgeoning “serious games” industry. As the term suggests, these are video and computer games created to achieve practical, real-world outcomes, such as education or job training; consequently, it’s […] Read more »

I moderated a panel on the future of mobile phone technology for accessing MMOs at the Virtual Worlds Expo in LA this week, but one of the most interesting demos showcased there was a very cool iPhone application for the real world: the ability to upload […] Read more »

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Every time I log into Facebook lately, I’m barraged by friends offering me cutesy virtual plants from something called (Lil) Green Patch; at first I dismissed them as yet another apparent Spam-esque app of the Zombies variety. But the plants kept coming, so last week I […] Read more »

Liz met a zombie at Thursday’s Pier Screening in Los Angeles, but rather than eat her brains, as is customary, he offered her a brain dump on GameZombie.tv, a scruffy but popular multi-platform game industry news/interview site with an interesting background, unique premise, and ambitious development […] Read more »

For today’s Pier Screening finalists we chose a single machinima selection, Robbie Dingo’s Watch the World(s), a beautiful tribute to the process of artistic creation. (I wrote on my Second Life blog about how Robbie created it.) We actually received several other strong machinima entries that, […] Read more »

It’s about time. Last Spring, Nintendo launched WiiWare, a downloadable game service on the Wii, but I haven’t been all that impressed by the scant titles they’ve made available since then. This week’s offering is different: Helix, from indie developer Ghostfire Games. In my view it’s […] Read more »

Well I guess it’s finally time to check out Wordscraper. Caving Responding to a formal complaint from Scrabble copyright holder Mattel, Facebook has blocked access to Scrabulous for pretty much everyone. I was hoping to at least play Scrabulous when I travel outside the States, but […] Read more »

Want to get a good idea of where the gaming business is headed? Follow the money — or better yet, follow the trends the folks with money are looking at. With that in mind, I recently contacted three top venture capitalists in the gaming space to […] Read more »

Famed game developer and analyst Scott Jennings recently announced on his blog that he’s quit online game publishing giant NCSoft to join John Galt Games. His new home is the small casual game startup developing Web Wars, a sci-fi game played via a browser plug-in, where […] Read more »

Judging by the geek cocktail buzz I keep hearing over RocketOn, the web-based “parallel virtual world” being developed by the Bay Area startup with the same name, I’m not the only one excited about its Sept. 15th launch. RocketOn CEO Steve Hoffman and Co-founder Eric Hayashi […] Read more »

As we reported last week, video-sharing site Vimeo will soon disallow uploads of game footage. Gamers, however, will still be looking to show off their latest Warcraft raid, Halo 2 headshot or machinima masterpiece, so which sites should they turn to instead? YouTube is the obvious […] Read more »

Moondo, a new “cross-gaming universe” from Funtactix (an Israeli game studio that’s backed by $6 million in Series A funding from Benchmark Capital and Jerusalem Venture Partners) has come out of limited beta. Sort of like Xbox Live for the web, Moondo lets you create your […] Read more »

Today at Comic-Con, the Cartoon Network announced FusionFall, which it described as “the first AAA, browser-based massively multiplayer online game (MMOG).” (The “AAA” qualification is probably meant to distinguish it from low-budget, web-based MMOGs like Runescape.) Set to be released this fall, the game will incorporate […] Read more »

Vimeo got itself into serious hot water with some of its users this week. Citing concerns over copyright infringement, file size, and the fact that the service was intended as “a place to share video with friends and family,” company Community Director Blake Whitman announced that […] Read more »

Bay Area startup ZipZapPlay launched the latest entry in the quickly growing build-and-share-your-own-game space in alpha this week, a service by the name of Playcrafter. ZipZapPlay CEO Curt Bererton and Chief Creative Officer Mathilde Pignol stopped by the GigaOM office recently to give us a hands-on […] Read more »

Carbon offsets have been available for purchase for avatars of the user-created world Second Life for some time. And now, thanks to a cool educational heads-up display, you can literally see the carbon emission levels of all the virtual cars, planes, and appliances around you, too. […] Read more »

Second Life, the user-created world backed by Linden Lab, has found itself in an increasingly competitive market lately; Google’s Lively is just the latest entrant into the virtual world space. So I sat down with Linden’s recently appointed CEO, Mark Kingdon, to find out how he plans to turn things around. Read more »

RuneScape is one of online gaming’s biggest success stories, but unless you play it or know someone who does, you’ve probably never heard of it. Launched in 2001 by Jagex Software, an independent studio based in the UK, it’s a traditional fantasy role-playing game that boasts […] Read more »

With so much venture funding going into web-based, ad-driven casual games (both the companies that create them and those that monetize them), you’d think the gaming industry as a whole was moving in that direction. I certainly did, at least until today. But Yahoo Games just […] Read more »

Ever since Apple put out its Software Developer Kit in March, game developers have been racing to create titles for the presumed market victor. But how much of a demand for them is there really? Based on the data from Cellufun, AOL’s designated mobile game portal […] Read more »

The other virtual shoe finally dropped today– after a year and a half of rumors, Google (GOOG) now brings us Lively, a web-driven mini-virtual world. Not a contiguous, immersive, fully user-created metaverse like Second Life, as it turns out– so it’s not really a direct competitor– […] Read more »

Based on publicly available data, it looks like an Internet milestone will be passed by the end of next month: World of Warcraft will lose its undisputed status as the most popular massively multiplayer online world. It’s struggling to defend that title as Habbo Hotel, the […] Read more »

Flying under the proverbial radar for the last four years, the web-based virtual world chatroom IMVU has released new jaw-breaking data: Since April 2004, it has amassed 20 million registered accounts, with 600,000 of those active monthly users. By comparison, Second Life took five years to […] Read more »

It’s a Web 2.0 rule-of-thumb: Give users a chance to create content, and odds are pretty good they’ll start with sex. Last week I got a sneak peek of the standalone Creature Creator for Spore, Electronic Arts/Maxis’ long-anticipated upcoming computer game which not only encourages players […] Read more »

I think it’s safe to say that the era of next-gen gaming as a driving force is over. Why? As of the week ending June 7th (the most recent tally available), just over 9 million copies of the highly touted Grand Theft Auto IV had been […] Read more »

Ah Vermont, that lovely New England state known for its maple syrup, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream…and now, limited liability corporations that only exist online. On June 6th, Gov. Jim Douglas signed an inauspicious-sounding bill entitled “H.0888, Miscellaneous Tax Documents” that could revolutionize the way startup […] Read more »

I finally understand why Spore has been delayed for so long. Originally expected for a 2007 release, the simulated evolution game from Electronic Arts (ERTS) studio Maxis was suddenly withheld, much to EA’s chagrin. Maxis head Will Wright explained the delay, saying that the company wanted […] Read more »

Starting now, Mattel (MAT) is offering a premium subscription option to its phenomenally popular Barbie Girls web-based virtual world. Since beta launch April 2007, it’s amassed a record-breaking 13 million registered users, with over 2.3 million of those monthly active users. At $5.99 a month, the […] Read more »

There’s a lot of VC money going into web-based, advertising-driven casual games, so here’s a wake-up call to investors: They may get better ROI with mobile phone-based gaming. In 2006, mobile game platform Greystripe launched GameJump.com, a distribution site for free, ad-supported cellphone games; since then, […] Read more »

It’s the dark side of Web 2.0: Now that everyone has the means to produce political videos, anyone can become Fox News. As we saw with the grating Yes We Can video, the irony is that these efforts are often counterproductive to the creators’ intentions. Worse, […] Read more »

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